#New York: Artists transform historic Ellis Island ferry into bohemian hotel

Victoria and Richard MacKenzie-Childs salvaged an iconic ferry from retirement, infusing it with décor rich enough to match its history.

The revamped Yankee boasts five bedrooms, 16 bunks, on-deck chickens, an Apple computer beside the old-school steering wheel, an expansive dining room and bohemian/artistic furnishings everywhere.
Docked near Hoboken’s Sinatra Drive on the Hudson River, the boat offers an unobstructed view of New York City. The ship is one of the nation's oldest known ferryboats and landed a spot on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Neafie, Levy & Co. constructed the ferry in 1907 in a Philadelphia shipyard for the Harpswell Steamboat Company. Since its inception, the ship has served many roles but none quite like its current incarnation.
The ferry-originally known as the Machigonne — initially carried the rich to the Calendar Islands of Maine for summer retreats, according to the MacKenzie-Childs. The fancy ship was decked out with crystal and mahogany. In 1913, the Nahant Steamship Line in Boston purchased the ship for its route from Boston to Pines Island.
The Yankee underwent an early metamorphosis when the U.S. Navy requisitioned the ship for World War I. It was stripped of its ornamental features and got down to business. Uncle Sam painted the ship Navy Gray for its new function as a patrol boat watching for enemy torpedoes in Boston Harbor.
In 1921, John E. Moore purchased the ship and brought it to New York Harbor for, perhaps, its most famous role: bringing immigrants from Manhattan to Ellis Island. After, the ship was renamed Hook Mountain when it was sold to Captain Daniel F. McAllister, according to its National Register of Historic Places registration form.

For a decade, it carried passengers from Manhattan to Governors Island and Bedloe's Island (now called Liberty Island). The ship was renamed Block Island before finally receiving its modern moniker Yankee, in 1948.


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